Takeaway points…The problems with lecturing…Kids are not engaged. They withdraw and tune out.
“Open Line of Communication,” maintain an ongoing discussion about the online universe, kids like to be teachers. Draw from your own child’s online experience. One tip that The CyberHood Watch partners have shared in the past is to invite your child to help you (the parent) to set up a Facebook account. Not only will you learn how it is done, you also help narrow the digital divide. It is an opportunity to ask questions: for example, what are the best ways to set up your privacy controls? It will give you some insight as to their level of security understanding. Another advantage is that you become their Facebook friend (check & balance). Hint: do not write on your child’s wall, unless he or she is comfortable with that.
“The Available Parent”…It is about being there in the moment with your child. Dr. Duffy told a story about a session he had with a father and son. The son was confrontational with his dad, so he asked the dad to step out to talk with the son alone. “I do not listen to my parent anymore: he is unavailable to me”, was the son’s explanation.
Takeaway point…You need to communicate, not necessarily to be your child’s friend, but “friendly” to have influence. It is important that your voice be heard in his or her child’s head when it comes time to make a good solid informed decision. Now is the time you want a friendly voice remembered…something you said that was not tuned out in a well-meaning lecture.
We often hear the advice to keep your PC in a public space, which is good advice; however, with the onset of Smartphones we cannot police every moment of our children. Fortunately, parents who started early, and have maintained an open discussion with his or her child, overall have a better chance that their child will make better-informed decisions.
Parents mean well guiding and navigating his or her child with expectations of what is best for them. Unfortunately, the desired results for these bedrock of good principles seem unattainable at times to the adolescent, and parents accidently cause his or her child to feel not good enough; consequently, breaking their child’s self-esteem.
Decide that your kid is good enough right now, if not, your child will seek the attention elsewhere.
More often than not, you will hear how difficult the cognitive and emotional developments of adolescent years are for children. They are trying hard enough without the additional challenges of the overwhelming information overload. It is not surprising how well children have adapted to the Digital Age, however; that does not mean their maturity level is commensurate with their tech savvy maturity level.
It is a big part and an important part for his or her child to become somebody different. Experimentation is part of the natural culture of children, and another reason why it is important as apparent to maintain an open and continuous dialogue with your child.
Do not miss the opportunity to be in the moment with your child when he or she wants to share one of their interests…use that moment as a stepping-stone to talk.
Dr John believes that sexting stems from a great deal from peer pressure. Throughout Dr John’s practice working individually with kids, he cannot remember a single child feeling comfortable when he or she sent an inappropriate picture. It seems instinctively that kids know it is wrong, but commit to doing it because of peer pressure. Take a moment and assure your child you understand how important he or she is to one another, but to be mindful it may be too much. You would not give a child a million dollars in cash, it would be too much for them to comprehend its value, and it would not be truly appreciated.
Parents need to be connected, open, and available to his or her child. My wife and I use to laugh that sometimes it felt like going downhill at 90 miles an hour, moguls all the way. If things seem to feel out of balance, ask yourself…What is your child’s unmet need?
What always works…Being available.
One final takeaway…Build a behavioral contract agreement with your child that includes consequences. Problem solving together, kids love being part of the process.
Your CyberHood Watch Partner,
david c ballard
Radio Security Journalist